New Call of Duty League 2021 Format Is Both an Improvement and Disappointment

by in Call of Duty | Jan, 27th 2021

Activision has officially revealed the full details about the Call of Duty League 2021 format, including the season’s schedule, how matches will work, what events are going to happen, and more. This season looks to be wildly different from what we had last year during the inaugural season. 

Call of Duty League 2021 Season Is Full of Changes

The 2021 season of the Call of Duty League will be full of changes compared to last year. There are so many different improvements and switches, making everything work almost totally different from how it did last year during the league’s inaugural season. 

After all, that was the first year for the league. There was a lot that Activision and the league officials could learn from how things were handled during that time. While some things did work, others were not as fruitful or exciting as they could have been under different circumstances.

Not to mention, the whole pandemic situation happened, which caused the entire season to be changed radically partway through it. That brought about some significant issues for everyone and made it not nearly as fun as it should have been had the year gone usually. 

With so much experience and understanding now under everyone’s belt, it is understandable that the overall Call of Duty League 2021 format and schedule will be a lot different from what we remembered last year. But is that going to be a good thing or a bad thing?

Call of Duty League 2021 Format Explained

Before we hop into my personal opinion on the new Call of Duty League 2021 format, it is best to explain the whole situation so that you know what we are getting into. You likely remember what we had last year. This year is very different from that.

The main thing that we will have this year that is the same as last year is the matches themselves, but even those have some intense changes to them that will make them potentially a lot different from last year. The first change comes to the fact that matches will be four on four once again. 

The matches will play out the same as before. The first team to get three round wins becomes the winner of that match. So, some matches will end up three to zero, while others will be three to two, and some more will be three to one. 

Matches will be played across three main game modes, two of which are returning from last year while one is replaced. Hardpoint and Search & Destroy will remain the stalwart modes that every match will use for competition while the third one will not be Domination this year. 

Instead of Domination, Control will be replaced, which returns in this season’s main title Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, after being introduced in Black Ops 4. But by and large, the matches will be similar to what we had to last year.

While the matches themselves are relatively similar to last year, nothing else really is. This is even seen in the Home Series Weekend events that are nothing like they were last year. Instead of having a pseudo-tournament with eight of the 12 teams, everyone will participate from week to week. 

All 12 teams will fight every week, but they are divided into two groups for this purpose. Teams will only battle against the other teams in their groups and not cross over at all for that set time. There will be Home Series Weekends three weeks in a row in most months of the season.

Rather than having a whole tournament that everyone is battling every week, though, it will play out mostly like the NBA and NFL seasons where teams will have one or two matches to play. Teams will earn points for the match wins that they get and be ranked accordingly. 

After three weeks have passed, the Major tournament will happen, where the teams are seeded into the event based on their points during the three weeks of Home Series. There, everyone will compete against one another for some solid prizes and even more points.

This general formula of having three weeks of every team playing the other five teams in their group once and then having a Major tournament afterward will happen five times in total. Five stages of this will happen throughout the year. 

After the five stages are completed, the leaderboard of points in the season will determine the top eight teams who will compete in the playoffs to determine who the world champions this season are. The bottom four teams, however, will have to sit that event out. 

Overall, it is a more standard formula similar to that of other sports in the week to week events but still having some tournaments here and there for fans to check out. At the same time, points will matter more as not every team will compete in the playoffs as it happened in 2020. 

But this brings me to my point: is the new Call of Duty League 2021 format better or worse than last year’s? This is a complicated question and one that will not be answered so quickly. There are positives and negatives to the new Call of Duty League 2021 format, and I aim to tackle both sides. 

How the New Format Disappoints Compared to 2020

In some ways, the new Call of Duty League 2021 format does disappoint me compared to last year. The main part that it disappoints in is the fact of the Home Series Weekends. These are not like they were last year, and they are, put, nothing like the incredible events they were in 2020. 

Every week, teams do one or two matches. That eventually culminates in a tournament at the end of each stage, but that means that there are only five tournaments in the main season and then the playoffs one, making for six in total.

Meanwhile, the 2020 season, while flawed and messy, did have double the number of tournaments as this year will. That is quite unfortunate as these were exciting, engaging, and unpredictable. Something like the new format for weekly matches doesn’t allow for that anymore. 

When a team is in a group, they will play the other teams in that stage one time before the Major. In last year’s format, they would play the teams in their groups at the start of the Home Series and then proceed to play other teams if they were able to move into the next round.

While this is more interesting on its own, it also meant that there were possible rematches in a Home Series, whereas teams will fight each other once a stage, minus the Major tournaments. This meant in 2020 that a team might lose their first match but come back, win some, and then end up the champions of that Home Series tournament. 

That isn’t something that we are going to see much of in 2021 due to the format. While it seems more professional and streamlined, the new Call of Duty League 2021 format does lose the main thing that made it worth watching last year, and that was how the Home Series events worked. 

How the New Format Improves Over Last Year

While it sounds like I don’t like the format this year, that isn’t the case as I like the new format and some of the changes it brings with it. I would argue that it improves over last year’s season in several different ways. 

I do have issues with the Home Series Weekends in general, but I do appreciate the idea of them since they can make the process much more professional. But beyond that, I like everything else that there is to the Call of Duty League 2021 season. 

The season is much more exciting and whole compared to last year since everything has a purpose. There was Call of Duty points that the teams earned last year, and they meant nothing. We initially believed they were likely to mean something for the postseason playoffs tournament, but that is something that we will never know. 

At least in 2021, the points have a purpose, and the events all do, too. Every single match and event that happens this year is building towards the playoffs as it should be. Teams can’t just make the types of constant mistakes that many of them did last year and still get away with doing well in the end.

That won’t fly this year as a team who loses over and over likely won’t get the chance to prove themselves. This will reward teams who mess up but learn from it and then grow to get better. 

Then there is also the matter of the groups. The whole reverse snake draft group style is a nice one, and it switches things up. All five stages should be different from one another since we expect that there will be different top two teams at the end of each of them. 

This should keep the competition fresh and exciting every month, ensuring that we don’t have the sort of repetition and predictability that the 2020 season had for most of it until the last couple of months. This brings me to my conclusion.

In reality, the more purposeful nature of this year’s season is better overall than last year. However, I do like the Home Series Weekends format that we had last year. The tournaments are the best part of a competition hands down, and reducing the number of tournaments is an unfortunate decision. 

I am willing to let this year play out and see how it goes, but I am already hoping for a third season in 2022 where the Call of Duty League employs a more blended version of the Home Series Weekends from the 2020 season and the more cohesive points system that we have this year.

2021 Season Begins With Atlanta FaZe Event

The Call of Duty League 2021 format will begin with the first event of the year in the Atlanta FaZe Opening Weekend Home Series event. This is the first Home Series of the year and will set the stage for the rest of the year as we will get the official start to the season.

It is here that the 12 teams will take part in their first match or two as part of their stage 1 groups. We will see some fantastic match-ups because of this, like the main event that is Atlanta FaZe taking on the new and improved OpTic Chicago, hoping to dominate the season. 

Other matches will happen then, and this will kick off three weeks of back-to-back Home Series for all 12 teams leading up to the first Major around the start of March. It will take some time to get a feel for how the new format will work this year, but we should have an idea by then. 

Stay tuned for all of your future Call of Duty League 2021 season coverage right here as the season is just getting started. 


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